Internal Fingerprints, Brain Flu, and Mars

Bonus Saturday science news post from my virtual desktop with a spectral hint all published on SpectroscopyNOW this morning:

Insider fingerprints – An Italian and German research team has used NMR spectroscopy to fingerprint a person’s metabolic phenotype. Their work shows that while the range of metabolic products and their concentrations varies significantly from person to person they are relatively stable over time for each individual.

Influenza on the brain – A study of children infected by H1N1 influenza, also known as swine flu, and highlighted by the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), used MRI and other scanning techniques to determine what brain complications may have occurred during the progression of the disease.

Reflecting on Martian heat – A research team in Spain has used infrared spectroscopy to reveal that taking the temperature of the Red Planet is not quite as straightforward as astronomers would like to think. They have demonstrated that the mineralogical chemistry of the planet’s surface can influence the precise temperature readings obtained for Martian soil.

Microbial nanotechnologists – The bacterium Bacillus licheniformis is an expert nanotechnologist, according to scientists in India. They have used the microbe to help them synthesise gold nanocubes, as verified by UV spectroscopy and other techniques. The approach offers an alternative approach to making these important nanoparticles without using high temperatures or toxic solvents.

Life’s ancient cooker – Raman spectroscopy has shown that organic material may have been ‘cooked’ in rocky mounds known as stromatolites that have been dated to 3.45 billion years ago.